Welcome to the Family Chris Cindric
We’ve considered Chris Cindric part of the family ever since his son Charlie became part of the team. Chris has an infectious spirit when ripe with Dad jokes! He never takes himself too seriously and you can tell he is always so happy to be out in the water surfing with his son. Him and his son outfitted their van and you’ll likely find them camped out at Pipeline in Idaho or Bend, OR when their home wave isn’t working. If you ever run into Chris at a wave introduce yourself if he doesn’t beat you to it, he’ll most likely unleash some of his dry humor on you. We’re happy to welcome him as an official member of the family. And now, we give you Chris…
What’s your home paddling spot/wave?
CC: The Spokane River. It’s a wonderful river that runs Class II-IV with a Class VI (un-runnable) in the heart of town. There are several waves to surf depending on river flow, but Trailer Park is my favorite (whenever they get the dam release right).
Your favorite paddling/surfing destination and why?
CC: Pipeline Wave on the Lochsa River. It’s the full experience of river surfing for me—the valley, the river, the wave, the people. I’ve made so many trips there with my son, Charlie, over the past few years. It is a significant place for me as a human being, father and surfer.
Chris, you have a pretty interesting job, tell us a little bit about it?
CC: I do love my job. I am a Senior Lecturer of Recreation and Leisure Services at Eastern Washington University (EWU). I teach a minor in experiential education and group facilitation as well as run the university challenge course. I also just created a class in craft beer appreciation that I will be teaching this summer at a local brewery. Pretty stoked on that one.
Your son Charlie has been part of the Badfish team for a few years now, is he the one that got you into stand up paddling?
CC: It is hard to believe that this will be Charlie’s fifth season on the Badfish team. I was the one who introduced Charlie to SUP, although, you would think he has been paddling/surfing for years before me! I started stand up paddling in 2010 while in Kauai. In 2012 the head of the outdoor program at EWU, John Fair, told me about river surfing and river SUP. I thought he was nuts. He told me to come surf this wave called Trailer Park with him. I stood up for maybe 3 seconds on a Badfish 9’ MVP that day and was hooked. That summer the river levels were awesome on the Spokane, so I would bring Charlie with me (he was 10) and go surfing everyday. Once he could swim the rapid he started surfing and that was that.
What is the most impactful lesson you’ve learned from river surfing?
CC: Humility. For me, river surfing is brief moments of ecstasy followed by prolonged periods of complete and unabridged humility.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not surfing or paddling?
CC: Running, yoga, beer, hanging with my wife and kids. Not always in that order (beer is usually first).
There aren’t many people Charlie’s age that are river surfing or whitewater stand up paddling, why do you think that is?
CC: Knowledge, perceived vs. real risk (fear), and access are maybe the biggest barriers to participation in my opinion. Many parents lack river knowledge and therefore do not participate in river based activities which then keeps their kids from gaining that knowledge as well. Lack of river knowledge leads many parents to perceive an activity like river surfing/paddling as inherently dangerous and may keep them from allowing kids to try it outside of their supervision (fear of your child being injured on someone else’s watch). And, unless you live in a fortunate community with a river wave, access to river surfing /paddling can be a costly and time consuming venture to take on.
You’ve recently started shortboard surfing on rivers, what do you think? Going to ditch the paddle for a bit?
CC: I started short boarding last year, at age 48. It has challenged and thrilled me in so many ways. I started in Boise with the Banks boys (Jeff and Peyton). I then spent 10 days on the Kananaskis Mountain Wave this past summer with the best group of Canadian surfers around and learned to pop-up. Now I head to Bend whenever I can to surf their stellar green wave. The Sk8 rips that wave. I am all in—love it.
Dogs or cats?
CC: Dogs. Unless it’s the dog that my heedless neighbor lets bark nonstop every freakin’ morning. Not that dog.
If you had the opportunity to paddle anywhere in the world…where would you go and why?
CC: Croatia. It’s where Cindric’s are from. I have not been but I know it is beautiful country with rivers, lakes and breathtaking coastline.
Thanks Chris!!! If you’d like to see what Chris is up to and watch some of the funny videos he makes follow him on Instagram at @chris.p.cindric